void life(void)

On last Monday (26/05/2008), the group that has analyzed OpenXML at Brazilian NB (ABNT) had a meeting to deliberate about sending a Brazilian appeal of the OpenXML approval. I’m a member of that group (and also coordinator of a part of its technical work).

I spent the last weekend deeply studying (or reviewing by the 100 time) the JTC1 Directives, and found several apparent violations to the directives. Based on those set of evidences, I prepared a presentation to be used at the meeting. I also placed on this presentation a number of questions that the Brazilian delegation had conveyed to ABNT requesting the dispatch to ISO, right after the end of the BRM (beginning of March).

I prepared the presentation merely in order to demonstrate that the irregularities was found and with that, contribute to the content of a possible Brazilian appeal (which should be presented in up to 72 two hours after the end of the meeting).

At the beginning of the meeting, our NB presented to us the ISO responses to our questions about the BRM and the ISO response to a considerable part of them was clear: This is the Brazilian point of view, and if you feel that you are right, send an appeal.

I did all my presentation (20+  slides), answering to all questions raised and at any moment I received even a single one  counter argument to anything that was being presented.

At the end of this presentation, the representative of a company (guess which ???) has taken the line of defense for his companions in the room: “I am not prepared, at this meeting, to evaluate the arguments and decide. I need more time. “It is worth highlighting that this meeting was scheduled on May 8th (date of our last meeting) and officially convened on May 19th (lack of time !!! again !!!).
From this point on, I understand that the meeting has become almost a hospice, because it is insane to accept that at this point of our lifes, after all the things that we saw, the main argument of opposition is the “lack of condition to discuss”.

I say that became a hospice, because the OpenXML supporters was tied to a fragile and indecent argument that “we’re not prepared to discuss,” saying that in this way, Brazil could not make the protest against the whole process by “lack of consensus” (as if consensus and unanimity was the same thing). Just to clarify, at the ISO directives “Consensus is the absence of reasoned opposition.”

The final decision is that we will only “protest” against the BRM and against the lack of final version of the specification text, pretending that we didn’t identified any problems during the Fast-Track, as if we were a bunch of blind and incompetent idiots. The ABNT undertook to send our “protest” to ISO on this Thursday.

In my understanding, those who don’t know theJTC1 directives cannot even attend such a meeting. Moreover, who goes to a meeting where an agenda item is “decision making” without conditions to take any decision is at least ill-intentioned (was there to do what? Prevent that fair and honest people work?) .

Worse than that, was to see kindergarten arguments tumultuating a serious and professional discussion like the one that should take place at that meeting.

When Brazil decided to vote NO on OpenXML, the kindergarten argument of “lack of time to read everything” wasn’t used. We’ve made an tremendous effort to review the specification and we vote with a complete technical knowledge of the facts. This time, the foolishness, disrespect and irresponsibility has won.

If an objective debate was realized at the meeting, with reasoned arguments against anything that I’ve presented, I would discuss the issue for hours (or even days) with anyone who was there. The only thing that I cannot accept, for ethical, moral and hygienic reasons, is that foolish and irresponsible arguments are used to prevent an objective discussion.

I would like to clarify that on these meetings, ABNT only acts as our secretariat and usually cannot interfere in any decision taken, only leading the group on the appropriate procedures and criteria. The representative of ABNT at the meeting, has tried to put order on that insanity almost at the end of the meeting, saying that she had not seen, until that moment, any reasoned opposed argument to what I’ve presentd, but she was stopped immediately from speak by the same person that started the whole mess at the meeting. We tried to argue in her defence and the things really get hard. For the first time I almost saw a real fight inside a meeting.

With all this presented, I see no alternative but to announce my decision to withdraw from this group at ABNT. If one day the ethics and logic prevails again at that group, I would be happy to come back, but given the fact that dirty and unrespectable tactics,  the ones that internationally ashamed the the name and reputation of our country, are used with effectiveness by the group who defends the indefensible, I prefer to keep me away. I highlight here that there are other members of this group, and its coordinator, that were also victims of this irresponsibility, but nothing could be done.

If it is to work seriously again, I’ll go back to the group. I cannot participate in something like this without taking this very seriously and unfortunately not all members there are guided by this principle (in fact, some there might confuse the word “principle” with “interest”, and are guided only by this last one).

I am not the owner of the truth, but I’m not “falling in love” with the lie.

If one ask me one day:

“Why Brazil did not presented a strong protest against the OpenXML approval at ISO?”

I can only answer:

“Because OpenXML supporters in Brazil were not prepared for this discussion.”


And here is my appeal: Each time you find a supporter of OpenXML ahead, say to him “Thank you for making Brazillian folks looks like clowns, international clows.”


36 Responses to “OpenXML: The Brazilian appeal and the appeal of a Brazilian”

  1. Jan Wildeboer

    That is Monty Python level :-)

    So on teh one hand we have the BRM where in 5 days there had to be decided on 1000+ issues. That seems to be OK.

    But when it comes to an appeal based on the JTC1 directives some people need more time? As the NBs asked at the BRM that more time is needed, this was put down immediately.

    I feel sorry for you personally. But trust me. Don’t leave! Stay there! I know it is painful, but if you leave, “they” can do whatever they want. Please think about that …

    Jan Wildeboer

  2. Kevin

    Microsoft is dying. Thats right they are fighting their one last fight and then they will die. They are going to support a small sub set of ODF. Do you think they would even contemplate that if they were not dying. The rot has set in and they will die from the inside out. Such is the result of corruption and evil in a company. They are toast so dont worry google will be the next IT kings. Make way for the future champions, Google, and prepare to bury Microsoft.

  3. André

    Please don’t leave!!!!

    There are so many people expecting, wishing, and wanting things to be done in a fair manner, and who are powerless because there are not allowed to speak to the ISO or their national body.

    It is great to have somebody like you in the right place and standing up and fighting to defend honesty and integrity. Please don’t give up. We need you, and I know I’m speaking for many (Brazilians and non-Brazilians alike) when I say we are behind you.


  4. Tom

    I’m sorry to hear that you are resigning. I don’t think that your resignation will have any positive benefit. The more likely result is that Microsoft will become an even more powerful presence in ABNT.

  5. Boycott Novell » More Microsoft Shenanigans: Microsoft Rep Shoots Down Brazil’s Appeal Against OOXML

    […] the BRM in Geneva? Well, it was prepared to appeal ISO’s decision today (the last day), but watch what happened. At the end of this presentation, the representative of a company (guess which ???) has taken the […]

  6. Matt

    You have always posted good blog posts. Like everyone says above, if you leave it only gets worse…and this is bad enough.

    Maybe you need another meeting, and need to push further on their explanation?

    I think you will have to show that you are more than just someone with a presentation before someone will accept that the delay is a lie.

  7. Joaquim

    If you leave they will grow within the group. Face them! Be strong. You are a very good example of a human being with principles.

  8. Joaquim

    Oh, by the way… can you make the appeal public?

  9. Joaquim

    Hhmm.. and what about your presentation, can you make it public ? :))

    Since the text was not published within the expected timeframe, does the deadline of 1 month for appeals shifts accordingly? If yes, then your material would be interesting to submit to other NB’s.

  10. Glyn

    Please don’t resign, if you do it will make it even easier for this kind of thing to happen. Keep fighting for what you know to be right.

  11. IMQ

    I strongly urge you not to leave. Stay tough. Stay strong.

    You are making the history by doing the right thing. You have a lot of people out there supporting your work because it is right.

    Please think about it.

  12. Friend

    Good work ! You are a brave man, you have done the right thing ! I congratulate you on this work of yours.

  13. the11thplague

    Stay and fight: as you can’t throw them out, they can’t throw out you.

    Don’t help them getting rid of you.

  14. Concerned Individual

    Please reconsider. Standing down from the clowns is not living your principles.

    Truth will weather the worst and is eternal, unchanged, evermore. I believe your principles are truth and you have a responsibility to stand for that which is truth.

  15. Stephan Wehner

    Not sure about stepping down. The “other side” stayed on after the NO-vote, right?

    If one asks you one day: “Why Brazil did not presented a strong protest against the OpenXML approval at ISO?”, you can answer: Hey, Brazil voted NO.

    Good luck!


  16. C Taurion

    Jomar, please reconsider.Your resignation will be negative to Open Document effort. Your contribution to ABNT is fundamental and with your resignation the other side will be the only winner…
    “May The Force Be With You”.

  17. FC

    Please reconsider your decision. Microsoft will insist on their dirty tactics, hitting below the belt anyone that fights the good fight, until they clear the field of any opposition. If this ever happens, they’ll win and we will lose everything accomplished so far, including the brave, rightful Brazilian vote against OOXML.

    Remember the sayings of Ghandi about non-violent activism: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. Microsoft is now at the fight stage against FOSS and open standards such as ODF, we must go on and achieve victory!


  18. Robert Devi

    I second the “Please don’t leave!!!!” request.

    Please take some time to cool off and reconsider your decision.

    The only thing evil needs to win is for good people to do nothing. You’ve fought a good fight and at least have been able to get Brazil to register a protest, which is an accomplishment to be proud of.

    By leaving, you’re telling Microsoft, okay, have it your way and if you want to use OOXML’s acceptance to force “harmonization” with ODF (i.e. add in all the bad parts of OOXML needed for “backwards compatibility”), by all means go for it.

    And just because a protest is sent, doesn’t mean an appeal can’t be sent later. You may just need to be a bit more politically savy about it and patient. For instance, instead of calling for a vote, ask for the group to vote using majority rules, that consensus means that no more than 15% disagree. Once you have that agreement, then you can shut Microsoft and it’s representatives out. Or insist on binding arbitration with a nonpartisan judge (e.g. a member of a group on the airline standardization board). There are tons of options, especially if you consult Groklaw and other legal sources or look at Microsoft’s own techniques for ramming through it’s decision (e.g. inviting the Microsoft representatives out for lunch to discuss the issue while secretly holding a vote with them missing).

    This is entirely ethical.

    In this situation, Microsoft is a thief that stole all ISO’s integrity. When you ask for it back, Microsoft offers you to split the difference and give you back half. After protest, it “generously” offers you a 60/40 cut and if you ask for more, it portrays you as being evil. Don’t be fooled. The only right thing to do here is to take ISO’s integrity back by force. If you don’t, then the only thing people can really count on are “de facto standards” (i.e. Microsoft standards), Microsoft wins by default.

  19. The Proliferation of Linux » Blog Archive » Brazil Appeals OOXML Decision

    […] Africa has already launched an appeal against the standardisation of OOXML and now Brazil is following suit.  Apparently the reason why the appeal took so long was that Microsoft represantitives were in on […]

  20. Eivind

    Your blog is always very interesting reading material and I think you are doing a great job in standing up for your honest and sincere principles, even though you maybe don’t feel you succeed as much as you should. I look up to you, for part of making the JTC1/SC36 mirror committe for ABNT/Brazil, for voting NO and being able to withstand the pressure of the drivers of the poor OOXML standard.

    You and Brazil give a lot of inspiration to others that struggle the same problems in their own countries. Please don’t resign, or at least reconsider. Greetings from Norway!

  21. Matthew

    Brazil now formally appeals (not a mere “protest”)


  22. bugstomper

    Could you please clarify what you wanted in the letter that did not end up in there? The letter that Andy Updegrove
    and Groklaw
    published appears to be an appeal that was formally lodged, not just a letter of protest. Is that an error in translating to English? Did ABNT file an appeal even though at the meeting you described it appeared that that the end result would only be a letter of protest that would not be a formal appeal? I can’t figure out after reading that letter if you still have any objections to what was actually sent.

  23. Loic

    Hey don’t leave, people need people like you. Like someone else said, if you give up. It will make nothing except making it less harder for them to convince someone that OOXML is a great thing.

  24. Another appeal against ISO OOXML, this time Brazil « CyberTech Rambler

    […] against ISO OOXML, this time Brazil Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:36 am Brazil is the second country, after South Africa, to appeal. As the deadline for filing appeals is getting […]

  25. Ian Justman

    While I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of what happened in that meeting–only with what I read on Groklaw, putting on a show of integrity will go a lot further than walking away in disgust. Those fools might end up hoisting themselves up by their own petards.

    While Gandhi has been quoted before, I think I’ll throw another one his quotes in which I think is highly appropriate:

    “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”


  26. Bento

    I agree with the others when they ask you to stay on. You did great until now, I understand your frustration but leaving is only giving them satisfaction. Stay if you can.
    I’m also tired of the junk Microsoft tries to impose us lately. As any monopoly they are now finally facing strong competition from all sides and rapidly loosing ground. Instead of fighting through improving their products and services they are trying to buy out the opposition. This is the sign of decadence, incompetence and mis-management. It is the beginning of the end, thank God.
    Hang on if you can, I think people like you are not far from seeing their frustrations being replaced by satisfaction…

  27. Ricardo Bánffy

    Please reconsider.

    Smarter (and faster) people already lined up the good reasons, so I won’t repeat them.

    Can’t a rule be passed forcing the meetings be placed on public record? This way the saboteurs (there is no other word for that) will have nowhere to hide, their names will be public and they will end up answering for their actions.

    I can see their point: Except morals (and we can safely assume they either have none or have a very interestingly distorted set), there is no reason not to sell your soul to the devil knowing he will never come to collect it.

    Checks and balances are a very useful tool.

  28. Raphael

    Opa, sou o cara do GOJAVA, nos falamos no 5 FGSL, o cara do Teatro Magico, :).
    Bem primeiro lugar muito legal a seleçao de video sobre o Teatro Magico, parabens, realmente esses caras sao o SW livre da musica brasileira.
    Outro ponto parabens pela sua atitude diante deste fato, fico pensando onde foi parar a etica e o senso comum.

  29. Carlos G.

    Jomar, as a fellow “fighter”, I must ask you to reconsider your decision. What you experience in that meeting is close to what we experience in the Venezuelan meeting, and god knows that I felt very stressed the couple of week surrounding that meeting. I you ask me back on those days if I wanted to come back, I would surely say no.

    But guess what? It will pass, the feeling to do the rigth thing will surpass the revulsion of those whose minds were buyed.

  30. OOXML Ainda Não « InSinopse

    […] forma, Brasil, África do Sul, Índia, Venezuela, oficialmente, e Dinamarca (extra-oficial), que manifestaram […]

  31. Eduardo Longines

    Go find a job guys. Life is to short to use Linux…

  32. homembit


    What Linux has with the post ?

    Are you insane ?

  33. Eduardo


    Open Source SW has nothing to do with Linux and ODF?
    Get land, man…
    Find a job, get money and enjoy your life.

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